Featured Journals

Each week students complete a journal entry reflecting upon their experiences in Italy. Selections from their journals will be featured here during the study abroad trip.  Check back often for updates!


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Week One (May 10th-May 16th)

Its weird being in a place where no one really understands you, but I think it has already made our group so much closer. I came here only knowing a handful of people but now I feel like I know everyone pretty well now and we are kind of like a little family. I think not having wifi and social media available at all times has really helped with that. I like how we aren’t all always on instagram or twitter because if we were I don’t think we’d be as close as we are. -Carleigh Begin

Arezzo is such a beautiful town. I was very surprised though when exploring the town the first night because I thought it would be much smaller. I didn’t think there would be much to do either, but it turns out the city is filled with things to do. -Taylor Cox

Most of the people I saw with phones had iPhones, which means that they have Internet and smart phone capabilities. However, I’m not sure how large of a role social media plays in the culture. My roommates and I found ourselves in an area of town that seemed to be a popular spot for teens and young adults. Most of them were not consumed with their phones like you would see at a typical hangout spot in America. They were conversing and visiting with one another, which I found refreshing. If social media is popular in Italy as well, it might be a more private activity while public settings are more outwardly conversational. -Kaydee Culclasure

It’s not even been three days yet, and already I am in love with Arezzo. It’s quickly become apparent to me that the best way to learn a culture is to become totally immersed. Our days seem to have a nice balance of group activity, “classroom” type learning, exploration and independent reflection. -Carlie Mills

Today a few friends and me went in to town early to go to a Panini shop that ended up blowing my mind and being absolutely scrumptious! It was called Panini & Co. and I would highly recommend it. I’ve learned a lot in such a short period time about the culture and language they speak here in Arezzo. I have picked up on a lot of vocabulary and every day I am noticing that it’s easier for me to communicate with the people who live here. Tomorrow we are heading to Rome and I can’t wait to see another part of this wonderful country! -Amanda Most

Visiting Ireland and Italy has always been one of my dreams, and my family pushed me to take this trip because of that. Since my arrival, I haven’t quite been able to put my appreciation for them pushing me to go. I continue to take pictures of everything I see, but when I look down at the photo, it just doesn’t quite look and feel the same. You don’t get to feel the ground beneath your feet, smell the scents in the air, see the proper reflection of the light, or hear the sounds of the city from the photograph. -Johnnie Sharp

The tour of Arezzo on martedi (Tuesday) was awesome. Being the history nerd I am in coalition with the fact that I wrote a paper last semester about Il Duce (the leader), discovering that Benito Mussolini had a statue built in town to remind the people of the former greatness of the Impero Romano (Roman Empire) was interesting. -Sean Smith

Week Two (May 17th-May 23th)

Once we checked into our hotel we went for a walking tour all around Rome. We split into two groups to make sure the tours would run smoothly. My group went to The Pantheon Building first and it was beautiful! The only light that came into the building was through a hole in a ceiling, the alters they had were all so beautifully done and well preserved. It was neat to learn about the history of The Pantheon Building. -Amber Jenness

When I got the chance to travel to Rome, I experienced something that I have never seen before. The historical city itself held churches, monuments and of course restaurants that you can only dream of. Ever since I took an Art History class last semester at Coastal and learned in-depth about the Coliseum, it has always been a “must see site” on my list. As a group, we walked through the halls of the Coliseum and gazed out among the seats of the arena. This was one of my favorite highlights of our trip thus far. Touching the grounds of the Coliseum and even more so, experiencing Roman Italian cultural, is something that I can now never forget. -Stephen Markee

…We also went to Orvieto, which was by far my favorite part of Italy thus far. It has a hundreds of caves that used to be used (and some still are) for work! The caves were used to produce olive oil, wine, building materials, rope making, and storage of meat; just to name a few. Some caves are still used for restaurants, which hopefully I am going back to experience! It has plenty of little shops with art work, pottery, and nik naks. The town is rather small and has only 7,000 residents. The churches there are stunning and one of the famous churches is St. Dominics. Orvieto has a very relaxed vibe. -Kira Elton

When we returned to Arezzo [from Rome] it was a big sigh of relief to be back in the quaint, comfortable surroundings. Knowing where to go and going into the same shops with people that recognize you makes you feel like you’re at home even when you’re thousands of miles away. -Katie Gajewski

We got to do the cooking class on Monday and it was maybe my favorite activity so far. It was so fun and actually surprisingly easy to make. My dad always cooks at home and now I can go home and teach him how to hand make pasta, which he is going to love. The chef even translated the recipe for hand made ravioli for us so I am especially excited to go home and try to make that. I make boxed pasta probably everyday at home, so I cant wait to just make this recipe in bulk and have fresh pasta ready to go whenever I want. -Carleigh Begin

I still have not had a single meal that was anything short of spectacular. I got osso bucco the other day, and it fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. The pizza, in my opinion, is better in Arezzo than Rome, but neither was of poor quality. The lasagna I ate in Orvieto was to die for, and I continue to realize that Italians just do pasta the way it’s supposed to be done. -Johnnie Sharp

Check back for more from students’ journals as the trip moves forward!


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